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Thread: Idaho, 1982

  1. #1

    arr Idaho, 1982

    Cold case may heat up with DNA evidence -
    Officials hope to identify body found in Snake River in 1982
    Lewiston Morning Tribune (ID) - November 15, 2005
    Author: Megan Patrick
    Nez Perce County sheriff's investigators are hoping technological advances in DNA testing will help determine the identity of a man found slain in the Snake River 23 years ago. A fisherman found the body of a white or Hispanic man on June 26, 1982, 25 miles south of Lewiston. The man had been shot twice, once in the back of the neck and once in the left shoulder.
    Having been in the water for about three weeks, the man was unrecognizable and all tips the department received failed to turn up a name, said investigator Kevin Messelt.
    Now, Sheriff Jim Dorion is giving the OK to have the man's clothing tested for DNA at the Idaho State Lab at Boise.
    "It is a cold case and it's always nice to solve those at some point," Dorion said. "I don't know if we'll be in a place that we can actually prosecute it, but at least we'll have an ID for a family out there."
    The man was between 18 and 20 years old with long, dark hair, about 150 pounds and 5 feet, 11 inches tall. He had a 2-inch scar on his right ankle.
    He was found wearing designer jeans over blue swimming trunks with red and white stripes down the sides, white socks and blue bikini-style underwear.
    Eye color could not be distinguished, and no dental work was evident.
    The body was found in a roadless area on the Idaho side of the river, near an eddy just across from the mouth of the Grand Ronde River, according to Tribune archives.
    But the shooting could have occurred anywhere upriver on the Snake River, Messelt said.
    Ballistics tests showed he was shot with a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson 36 Centennial Model, which has not been manufactured since 1967.
    The body was buried July 14, 1982, in an unmarked grave at Normal Hill Cemetery in Lewiston. According to Idaho law, homicide victims cannot be cremated, Messelt said.
    If the state lab cannot collect DNA from the clothing, there has been talk of exhuming the body, he said.
    But technicians at the state lab, which is doing the testing at no cost, seem pretty sure they will be able get a good DNA sample because of the time the man was wearing the clothes after he died, Messelt said.
    The body had started to decompose, and bits of skin were attached to the clothes, he said.
    "It's gruesome, but that's what happens," Messelt said.
    If DNA is collected, the results will be put into a DNA database and matched to missing persons reports.
    Since the body was found, a couple of strong possibilities have turned up in the reports, Messelt said.
    Solving the homicide is a priority, but time takes a toll on evidence, he said. And at this point, none has been collected for the case except the body.
    But an ID would at least provide a geographical place to start looking for his acquaintances or anybody with information, Messelt said.
    "Maybe somebody in the public will come forward now and say, 'I know him,' or 'I know what happened,' " he said. "Even if we could get a close 'might be.' "
    Periodically, cold cases are reviewed by the FBI, which has more resources than small agencies, Messelt said.
    The case is listed on the Doe Network Web site, an international database of unidentified and missing persons, which has generated a handful of tips, he said.
    And the department is waiting to hear back from Project EDAN (Everyone Deserves a Name), an organization that does forensic sketches at no cost, he said.
    The last sketch was done in 1986, and the department would like to improve the existing photo, Messelt said.
    "First and foremost, we want to identify him," he said. "If anything, there's a family out there missing him."

  2. #2

    Default Re: Idaho, 1982

    Unidentified White or Hispanic Male

    • Discovered on June 26, 1982 in the Snake River, on the Idaho side, 25 miles south of Lewiston.
    • The victim was shot twice; once in the left shoulder and once in the neck.
    • Estimated date of Death: January 1982

    Vital Statistics

    • Estimated age: 18 - 20 years old
    • Approximate Height and Weight: 5'11"; 145-160 lbs.
    • Distinguishing Characteristics: Long, straight dark brown to black hair. He had a 2" scar on his right ankle. piercings or bone breaks.
    • Dentals: No dental work was evident in the teeth. He had great teeth with no cavities.
    • Clothing: He was wearing designer jeans over blue swimming trunks with red and white stripes down the sides of the trunks, white socks, and blue bikini-style underwear.

    Case History
    No jewelery or identification were recovered and the body had no tattoos or distinguishing marks except for the scar on the ankle.
    Ballistics proved the victim had been shot with a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson 36 Centennial Model. This particular weapon has not been manufactured since 1967.

    If you have any information about this case please contact:
    Nez Perce County Sheriff's Investigator

    You may remain anonymous when submitting information.

    NCIC Number:

    Please refer to this number when contacting any agency with information regarding this case.

    Source Information:
    Nez Perce County Sheriff's Investigator

  3. #3

    Default Re: Idaho, 1982

    North Idaho 1982 cold case re-opened.

    NEZ PERCE, Idaho-- Nez Perce County Sheriff’s Office has re-opened a cold homicide case from 1982.

    On July 26, 1982 a deceased male was discovered on the shore of the Snake River approximately 25 miles from Lewiston. The cause of death was found to be homicide.

    Efforts to identify this subject were not successful at the time and the male was interred in Lewiston as a John Doe.

    Funding was recently obtained by the Sheriff’s Office through the Rocky Mountain Information Network in order to have DNA testing done.

    The Rocky Mountain Information Network is one of six regional centers of the Regional Information Sharing Systems established by Congress in 1983 to assist the law enforcement community. The Sheriff’s Office applied, and was awarded, a grant to fund the disinterment and DNA testing of the victim.

    Samples will be sent to the University of North Texas for DNA analysis at little or no cost. The University will also then submit the DNA profile to all available data-bases and notify the Sheriff’s Office of any possible matches.

    In this article it says July 26, guess that is a mistake as both other posts say June 26 ?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Idaho, 1982

    This is a really great thing they are doing!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Idaho, 1982

    LEWISTON, Idaho -- Four small yellow flags were the only indication of what lay below the frozen grass at Normal Hill Cemetery.

    Using a square-bladed shovel, Greg Morton of Wilbert Precast quickly cut the sod into strips, setting it neatly to one side. With plywood protecting the grass, the bucket on a front-end loader, exactly the width of a grave, carved a hole the length and width of the concrete vault buried several feet down.

    It was a sizable crowd that gathered to watch the grave of an unknown young man being reopened Wednesday morning: Nez Perce County deputies who obtained the $2,000 grant that will pay for the costs associated with exhumation, city police officers, the county coroner and his deputy, the grave diggers, a mortician and the news media.

    Exhumation only occurs around here once every 10 or 15 years, and then most often because a family wants a grave relocated, said Jason Harwick of Vassar-Rawls Funeral Home.

    The action requires a permit from the Idaho Bureau of Vital Statistics, and that a licensed mortician be at the scene, said Coronor Gary Gilliam. In this case, it also necessitated the presence of sheriff's evidence and investigating deputies who will establish a chain of evidence in the event a homicide case can be pursued in the future.

    Shovels completed the job of removing the last of the brown earth that had been undisturbed for more than 29 years. Four 2-inch-thick concrete slabs -- the top of the vault -- were removed, exposing a rusty metal container inside.

    That container was lifted out by four men and placed in the back of the coroner's pickup truck for a short journey to Vassar-Rawls Funeral Home.

    That's when events started resembling an old comedy routine.

    A plastic tarp had been placed beneath the box because it didn't look very sound, Gilliam said. When they picked it up, the bottom of the metal box gave way and the contents -- bones -- fell into the plastic tarp.

    The femur, the largest of the leg bones, was taken for testing, and the rest of the skeleton was bundled up, put back in what remained of the box and within an hour everything was reinterred at the cemetery, Gilliam said.

    When the body of a young man was found 291/2 years ago on the Idaho side of the Snake River just upstream from Heller Bar, DNA testing wasn't a tool available to law enforcement. Now, samples of DNA can be readily recovered from bones.

    The femur was taken to the Lewiston FBI office, which has a sterile dryer for evidence. It will be dried, packaged and sent, probably via United Parcel Service, to the University of North Texas at Denton, which will do the analysis at little or no cost.

    The results will be run through all the DNA databases available, said Nez Perce County Sheriff's Sgt. John Hilderbrand, the chief investigator in the case that started a year before he entered law enforcement. That could take a couple months.

    For a match to be made, a near relative will have to be somewhere in a database -- probably a parent or grandparent or sibling, Hilderbrand said.

    Investigators in 1982 were able to determine the make and model of the gun that created the wounds in the man's neck and left shoulder. But they were never able to determine where he went into the water, probably two to three weeks before a fisherman found him on June 26, 1982.

    No one ever claimed him, or came forward with a name. His description was placed on national missing persons websites. Eventually, he was buried in an unmarked grave in the city-owned Normal Hill Cemetery.

    He was estimated to be 18 to 22 years old, 5 feet, 11 inches tall, about 150 pounds, with straight brown or black hair. He had a 2-inch scar on his right ankle. He was wearing blue swimming trunks with red and white stripes underneath designer jeans.

    He had been shot with a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber 36 Centennial Model revolver manufactured no later than 1967.

    When testing is completed, the bone will be cremated and returned to the young man's grave. That's the law, Gilliam said.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Idaho, 1982

    Body of suspected unidentified murder victim exhumed

    LEWISTON, ID - It was a ground breaking day as officials gathered around the unmarked grave of Lewiston's John Doe on Wednesday.

    The Snake River cold case was reopened last week after three decades of unanswered questions. This is the third time the case has been opened in 30 years.

    "As far as I know this is the fist time we have done anything like this in Nez Perce County," said Nez Perce County Sheriff Dale Buttrey. "The significance is we believe we have a homicide. We are just stalled at this point."

    Grave diggers dug up the body of the Snake River victim. A bone will later be taken out of the grave and sent to Texas for examination.

    "To be able to determine the identity, the coroners office had to send a portion of the deceased bone back to a lab," said Funeral Director Jason Harwick. "So we had to remove part of that to send back for identification purposes."

    Coroners were able to remove the femur from the coffin which will be sent to Lewiston branch office of the FBI for sterile drying. Once the bone is dry, the bone will go to the University of North Texas for DNA analysis. The university will submit the DNA profile to all available databases and notify the sheriff's office if there are any possible matches.

    "Hopefully there will be a match somewhere and we will be able to open this case up and further our investigation," said Buttrey.

    Coroners were able to put John Doe back to rest in his grave, where he will reside until the victim's leg bone returns from Texas.

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